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Preston prepares to shut down on November 30 for public sector strikes

Posted on - 26th November, 2011 - 11:47am | Author - | Posted in - News, Politics

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Public sector workers in Preston will join nearly 3 million across the country in walking out of work on Wednesday over cuts to pensions.

Unison, Unite and GMB members have all voted to strike meaning council offices will be closed, refuse collections disrupted and museums shut for the day.

Workers are unhappy about government plans to switch their pensions from RPI inflation tracking measures to the consumer prices index – which is normally lower.

Preston City Council’s chief executive Lorraine Norris said council services are likely to be disrupted.

She said: “This is a national strike and we expect a significant number of staff will support it. There is likely to be disruption to Council services.”

Rubbish collections on Wednesday 30th November will be attempted but not every bin may be collected.

Residents with recycling and food waste collections due on the day are advised if it isn’t picked up to keep it on their property until their next scheduled collection.

Preston Town Hall, Lancastria House and Birley Street offices will be closed. Telephone calls may be answered but residents are warned to expect long waiting times.

The Harris Museum and Art Gallery will be closed and funerals or cremations will not be available to be booked at Preston Cemetery or Preston Crematorium.

Rubbish collections on Wednesday 30th November will be attempted but not every bin may be collected.

Residents with recycling and food waste collections due on the day are advised if it isn’t picked up to keep it on their property until their next scheduled collection.

Preston Town Hall, Lancastria House and Birley Street offices will be closed. Telephone calls may be answered but residents are warned to expect long waiting times.

The Harris Museum and Art Gallery will be closed and funerals or cremations will not be available to be booked at Preston Cemetery or Preston Crematorium.

Leader of Preston council, Peter Rankin, said he still hoped a resolution will be reached.

He said: “I regret the threatened disruption of services to the public and it is not yet too late for the two sides to get round the table to conclude an agreement.

“However I fully understand why staff are taking this action and I, and the Labour administration, deeply sympathise with them.

“Three years ago the local government pension scheme was revised so that scheme benefits (and consequently costs) are now 25% lower. There is no funding gap – the pension scheme is currently cash rich with income far exceeding outgoings.”

Thousands of workers are expected to march through the city streets in protest on the Wednesday.

It will finish at the Flag Market at 12noon with a rally culminating in a demonstration billed as “One Noise at One” with protesters asked to make as much noise as possible.

North West TUC Regional Secretary Alan Manning said: “Details of the demonstrations are now being finalised, but we already know that November 30 will see the biggest co-ordinated trade union for a generation.

“Public servants are expected to pay an extra £3 billion a year for much worse pensions, by a Government that cancelled the banker’s bonus tax and is obsessed with cutting public services instead. They are being told to work longer and pay more – for a lot less.”

What do you think about the strikes? Are you taking part? Do you support them? Are you against them? Let us know your views in the comments below

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